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Read-only on /dev/tty causes ssh-add to show passwords when typed and ssh'ing to new hosts to fail

Date: 2014-07-17
Tags: openssh linux

I have an OpenVZ box that’s always been nothing but trouble to me. I’m not sure why I keep it around, but I do. One day, ssh-add started echoing my password to the terminal. I was sad. I then tried to ssh and just kept getting “Host key verification failed.” What’s up with that?

Eventually through the use of ssh -v -v -v I figured out that /dev/tty wasn’t usable. (WHAT?) I ls -l /dev/tty and found it had permissions of crw------- owned by root:root. I did chmod a+rw and everything started to work.

I’m still trying to ascertain why that happened, but I wonder if openssh could provide an error if it can’t confirm a host key via input and so that ssh-add doesn’t echo passwords; sudo doesn’t, so I’m curious if the other methods possible on linux could be used on other systems or not. Anyway, off to #openssh to see if they have any input.

I just wanted to put this up so that if anyone else has this issue they can be guided to a (temporary?) solution. I’ll attempt to keep this post up-to-date as I learn anything.